If there were ever a time when we needed more art in our lives, it’s now. After a year at home in our COVID-19 cocoons, our living spaces could certainly use a refresh. Maybe it’s a sculptural piece in our office to inspire creativity and hope. Or perhaps it’s an acrylic painting that reconnects us with another culture or perspective. But beyond our own artistic cravings, artists need us, too. For the past year or so, art festivals have been canceled and galleries, if they remained open at all, have done so at limited capacity making it difficult for creatives to have an avenue to sell their pieces.
Now, as the world reopens, some of our favorite pastimes are returning. One that all art lovers should put on their calendars: The Avalon Arts Festival, which will be from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 12 at the Avalon Dance Ballroom, 6185 Arapahoe Road in Boulder. In all, there will be 60 artists, musicians and dancers. The event is free to the public.
“I love marrying music and dance into the event—creating a fun, carnival atmosphere,” says Rick Dallago, the art festival’s co-creator and a film producer and artist.
Raised in New York City, and having spent three decades in Los Angeles, Dallago noticed that Boulder has an impressive number of artists per capita. In fact, there are more than 5,000 artists in the city, but too few places to sell art, according to Dallago, who moved to Colorado in 2019. Leveraging his film production and marketing skills, he decided to start his own festival to help artists market their creations. Artists aren’t charged to apply; the festival doesn’t take commissions. The goal is simply to put money directly in their pockets.
The first festival was held in September 2020 in a drive-through format to adhere to the county’s COVID-19 guidelines. During the four-hour event, 900 patrons came through. (In this next iteration of the festival, people can walk through the festival).
Dallago says he plans to schedule these festivals several times a year with an inclusive, diverse and non-juried selection of artists from a 30-mile radius of Boulder.
Beyond Boulder, there will be featured artists from surrounding areas at this weekend’s festival, including Fort Collins, Denver, Greeley, Loveland, Longmont, Erie, Arvada, Golden, Aurora, Lafayette, Louisville, Edgewater and Thornton.
As a film producer, Dallago’s films have included “Blue Crush,” “Into the Blue,” “Cheaters,” “Crazy/Beautiful,” “Turistas,” and “Things Behind the Sun.” He’s also worked in various production capacities on big-name films like “Father of the Bride,” “City Slickers 2” and more.
He’s also a painter whose photo-realistic oil pastel paintings were featured in a solo exhibit at the Museum of Boulder. His work has also been on display at R Gallery, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Rayback, Open Studios, D’Art Gallery, Miller & Rossi Gallery and more.
“Boulder has the potential to become an art destination,” Dallago says. “We have the talent, the growth, and the incredible support of Boulder Arts Council & the Boulder County Arts Alliance.”
To celebrate Boulder Pride in June, the festival is working with Out Boulder County, which has a mission of educating, advocating and providing services and programs for Boulder County’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer communities.
Performers at The Avalon Arts Festival will include Tribal Misfits, Moosh, Paranoid images, Fat Brando, DJ Must Starseed and more. Sponsors will include Fisher Honda, Eldorado Water, Boulder Bookstore, Arts Parts and Hazel Beverages.
Even More Arts Festivals To Attend
Love the arts? Here are a few more arts festivals in and around Boulder to put on your summer calendar:
July 16-18: Boulder Creek Festival a day-long festival along Boulder Creek (from 9th Street to 14th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue). The summer celebration returns this year with live music and an artisan marketplace in addition to food trucks and stalls, a creekside beer fest and games, rides and activities for kids.
July 31-Aug. 1: Boulder Fine Art Street Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, 1710 29th St. in Boulder. The festival features local and national artists and fine crafters all displaying their handmade work in a safe, outdoor environment.
Sept. 4-6: The Cherry Creeks Arts Festival, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 4, 5 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 6, located on the creekside area of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Labor Day weekend festival brings 250 renowned artists to Denver.